South Korea’s prime minister Han Duck-soo has announced some health controls on people travelling to the country via China. They technically come into force from Monday (January 2), and are said to be in response to a recent surge of Covid-19 infections in the latter country. Such travellers will need to show proof of a ‘negative’ test result for the disease, before commencing inbound travel; and via sampling after arrival in South Korea.
Chinese visitors were in pre-pandemic times an important customer segment for South Korea’s foreigner-only casinos, which account for 16 of that nation’s 17 casinos.
The country’s Central Disease Control Headquarters (CDC) – which comes under the Ministry of Health and Welfare, added some detail following Thursday’s announcement by Mr Han.
Any person journeying inbound via China between January 5 and February 28 must obtain a ‘negative’ Covid-19 test result at least 24 hours before boarding transport to South Korea. Those travelling for emergency reasons might be exempted compliance.
Yonhap News Agency said the reason the protocol took practical effect on January 5, and not January 2, was to give people on the Chinese side time to prepare for the new requirement.
Any inbound traveller via China that tests ‘positive’ after arrival, will have to undergo a seven-day quarantine. People who have sought short-term entry, will be tested at point of entry. They will need to be quarantined at what the government termed a “temporary quarantine facility” if ‘positive’.
South Korean nationals and foreigners seeking permission for longer stays, must take a test within 24 hours of arrival, and stay at their place of residence until at least such time as the test result is clarified. Anyone testing ‘positive’ would then need to be quarantined for seven days at their residence.
The country will also – from January 2 to 31 – restrict issuance of short-term visas at its embassy and consulates in China. Excluded from that protocol will be diplomats, and people travelling for approved business or humanitarian purposes.
In addition, South Korea will require that inbound flights from China are only via Incheon International Airport. Services inbound from China that had been due to operate via either Gimhae International Airport, Busan; Daegu International Airport; or Jeju International Airport, will be suspended from January 2.
CDC noted that the country’s immigration policy could be subject to further change.
Thursday’s announcement did not clarify whether those setting off from – or travelling via – either Macau or Hong Kong, would be covered by the tightened entry terms.
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